Skip to main content
photo of highway sign How To Avoid Car Shipping Scams

How to Avoid Car Shipping Scams

Relocating or moving vehicles over long distances can be a stressful task which is why many opt to use car shipping services. Unfortunately, there are numerous car shipping scams in the auto transport industry so it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re hiring a reliable company for your vehicle transportation. In this article, we’ll provide an extensive guide on how to identify and avoid car shipping scams.

Understanding the Car Shipping Service Landscape

Before delving into the auto transport industry, it is important for potential customers and service providers alike be cognizant of the different types of services available. Here are three primary categories that make up the market:

Direct Car Transport Carriers

When considering who to select for car transportation services, it is beneficial to go with a provider that has their own fleet of trucks and employs their own drivers. In this way, you can be assured of an end-to-end service and reduce the chance of encountering any fraudulent activity. However, finding a car transport carrier that is running your exact route is like finding a needle in a haystack. That’s the job of the very best car shipping brokers, like Direct Express Auto Transport.

Car Shipping Brokers

When it comes to transporting your vehicle, enlisting the help of a broker such as Direct Express Auto Transport may be very beneficial. As middle-men between customers and direct carriers, brokers aim to find the best fit for their client’s needs. However, as the brokers are not directly involved in the conveyance process, they can also open the door to fraudulent activities. The best brokers weed out the bad apples for you.

Auto Transport Dispatch Companies

A trusted auto transport management company can provide a dependable and secure transportation option for their customers. Such companies act as an intermediary, handling the whole process from beginning to end by collaborating with respected carriers. Utilizing this service is beneficial in avoiding any fraudulent activity.

10 Steps to Avoid Car Shipping Scams

Ensuring your vehicle is transported safely and without any kind of hassle can easily be achieved simply through taking a few key precautions. The following steps will enable you to avoid car shipping scams and have a smooth journey for your automotive transport.

1. Research and Compare Auto Shipping Companies

When selecting a car shipping service provider, it is essential to conduct thorough research into their background. Examine customer reviews and testimonials to assess their performance and reliability. Do not make your decision based only on cost as deals that appear too good to be true could signal a scam. Get all the facts about each company’s services and pricing before you commit.

2. Verify Company Information

When selecting an auto transport company, it’s important to double-check that they have a legal name of business, an actual physical address, ways to be reached and valid licensing details. All these firms must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in order to acquire a Motor Carrier (MC) number which ought to be openly visible on their website. Should you struggle to find this information, directly contact the company and ask for it.

3. Check for Proper Licensing and Insurance

Before engaging with a car shipping service provider, it is important to make sure that the company has the right licensing and insurance coverage. To confirm this information, you can look up their MC number on the… FMCSA’s official website. To ensure that your vehicle is safe during its travels, make sure the transporter holds a valid contingent cargo insurance policy.

4. Examine the Auto Transport Company’s Website

In order to avoid being scammed, it is important for shoppers to inspect several aspects of the website they are using. Carefully review the URL and check to see that a secure SSL protocol is in place for both payment and communication.

5. Read Transport Reviews and Check Ratings

It’s important to do your research when considering a company. Take a moment to look into customer feedback on sites such as Google, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, Transport Reviews and Facebook. Keep in mind that you won’t find perfection, but any pattern of negative evaluations could be indicative of potential problems with the organization.

6. Get Multiple Quotes and Compare Prices

When you need to transport your car, it is a good idea to get quotes from more than one company. That way, you can determine the average cost for this service and be sure that you are getting a reasonable price. However, be cautious of any offer that looks too low in comparison to similar quotes; this may indicate a fraudulent arrangement.

7. Avoid Upfront Payments and Wire Transfers

When it comes to car shipping, always be mindful of potential scams. Many fraudulent companies will require full payment upfront through non-traceable wire transfers such as Moneygram or Western Union. To protect yourself, use traceable payment methods like bank transfers, credit or debit cards, cashier’s checks, or PayPal. Reputable car shippers generally only require a small deposit upfront with the remaining balance due upon delivery.

8. Review the Car Shipping Contract Thoroughly

Before putting your name to a shipping contract, it’s essential that you take the time to thoroughly read and comprehend its contents. Pay particular attention to any terms referring to damages, restrictions, immunities and fees. Should there be anything obscure or vague within the agreement, do not hesitate to enquire with a customer representative for further clarification.

9. Inspect Your Vehicle Before and After Transport

Before your car is picked up, conduct a thorough inspection and document any pre-existing damage, along with the vehicle’s mileage. Upon delivery, inspect your car again to ensure it has not been damaged or used during transport. If you notice any discrepancies, speak to a company representative immediately.

10. Stay Vigilant for Red Flags

Be cautious of companies that refuse to provide physical addresses, request large deposits upfront, ask for your Social Security number, or have suspiciously quick scheduling. These red flags could indicate a potential scam.

What to Do If You’re a Victim of a Car Shipping Scam

If you believe you’ve fallen victim to a car shipping scam, report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission and your state’s Attorney General’s office. You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and share your experience on social media and review platforms to raise awareness and help others avoid similar scams.

Final Thoughts About Scams

When considering car shipping services, it is important to exercise caution and investigate the provider thoroughly. Research company information, read reviews, compare quotes, and trust your intuition when something seems off. Through being mindful and resourceful, you can effectively maneuver the auto transport industry with assurance and anticipate a smooth journey for your vehicle. This way you can rest assured that your vehicle will arrive safely at its destination without any hassles or scams occurring along the way.

The Original Car Shipping Quote Calculator

Direct Express Auto Transport originated the instant car shipping quote calculator in 2004. It is still the best, most sophisticated, reliable tool available anywhere online. We offer three options that we call tiers of car shipping estimates. The standard rate is the cheapest car shipping quote, but it may take longer. Use it if you are patient. The expedited car shipping rate is most recommended, and we have countless satisfied customers because the shipping process tends to go quicker. The rush rate is our highest level of car shipping service, and we have many customers who are glad they went with that method. If you are buying a car from an auto auction, shipping it with us is a smart move.

auto transport tips, Car Shipping Quote Calculator